September 2003   

MKS Inc.

12701 Fair Lakes Circle, Suite 350
Fairfax VA 22033-3831 USA



MKS AlertCentre FLASH Demo

MKS Toolkit® Release Notes

Version 8.6

MKS Toolkit 8.6

NEW MKS Toolkit v8.7Find Out More ! ! !

MKS Toolkit is the leader in UNIX to Window scripting, connectivity, and application migration. Enhancements found in the 8.6 release include major changes to the shell, updated and expanded compression utilities and connectivity tools. and added or increased support for Unicode, files larger than 4 gigabytes in size, and sparse files. The Fixed Problems section discusses the problems resolved in this release. The following section discusses the specific enhancements in much greater detail.

MKS KornShell Enhancements

  • Performance Improvements for MKS KornShell. Several changes have been made to improve the speed of the MKS KornShell.

  • Enhanced Compatibility with ksh93. Additional features have been added to the MKS KornShell to increase its compatibility with the ksh93 specification.

  • New MKS KornShell Built-in Utilities. The basename, chmod, date, dirname, mkdir, rm, rmdir, and touch utilities are now provided as both MKS KornShell built-in utilities and external utilities. This allows them to be executed much faster when used in MKS KornShell scripts or run from the MKS KornShell command line.

  • New Environment Preservation Capability. With the new mks_env built-in utility and the new -R option to sh, you can save and restore MKS KornShell environments.

Bash (Bourne-Again Shell)

New to MKS Toolkit 8.6, the popular bash shell is included in all products. bash complements the KornShell, C Shell, Tcl Shell, and other shell environments. This increased shell support lets you run UNIX and Linux bash scripts natively on Windows systems with little or no changes.

bash provides several features that expand upon the capabilities of the MKS KornShell, which now also includes these features. Amongst these features are:

  • Escape Sequences in Prompt Strings. By placing specific escape sequences within prompt strings, you can set colors, include special characters, and change the title bar.

  • Backslashed Escape Characters in Strings. With the $'string' construct, you can use backslashed escape characters in strings.

  • Addtional Built-in Utilities. Several additioinal built-in utilities are provided:

    • autoload — lets you load function definitions from a file.

    • builtin — executes shell built-in utilities.

    • declare — defines and displays variable and functions in a similar manner to typeset.

    • local — defines a variable to be local to the function in which it is defined.

    • shopt — provides an alternative method of setting shell options.

    • source — executes a shell script in a similar manner to the . (dot) command.

Operating System Compatibility

  • Windows Server 2003. As of MKS Toolkit 8.6, most MKS Toolkit utilities and APIs are compatible with Windows Server 2003 with a few minor exceptions. For more information, please see the Technical Support notice on our web site (

  • 64-bit Windows and IA64. All MKS Toolkit products are certified to run on the 64-bit Windows operating system on IA64. The utilities are 64-bit aware and the MKS Toolkit UNIX APIs included in MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers can migrate 32-bit UNIX applications to the 32-bit emulation layer of the 64-bit Windows operating system.

Improved UNIX Build Utilities

  • Enhancements to the cc Utility. The cc utility now features additional options in the version provided in MKS Toolkit for Developers and MKS Toolkit for Interoperability to make it more compatible with the version provided in MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers.

  • Extended Availability of the ld Utility. The ld utility, which provides an interface to the Microsoft linker, has been added to MKS Toolkit for Developers and MKS Toolkit for Interoperability.

  • Enhancements to the cpp Utility. The cpp utility in MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers now features additional options to increase its compatibility with GNU cpp.

Improvements to Connectivity Suite

  • New Version of Secure Utilities. The secure utilities and services have been updated to be compatible with OpenSSH 3.5p1.

  • Smart Card Support. The secure utilities and services now support using smart cards to handle public keys.

  • New rlogind Service. MKS Toolkit now includes a rlogind service that lets a system accept remote logins from the rlogin utility.

Enhancements to Compression Utilities

  • New bzip2 Compression Utilities. MKS Toolkit now supports bzip2 block sorting compression and includes the following new utilities to support this compression technique:

    • bzip2 — compresses a file using bzip2 compression.

    • bunzip2 — uncompresses a bzip2-compressed file.

    • bz2cat — displays the uncompressed version of a bzip2-compressed file.

    • bzip2recover — attempts to recover data from a damaged bzip2-compressed file.

    • bzdiff — compares bzip2-compressed files using diff.

    • bzcmp — compare bzip2-compressed files using cmp.

    • bzgrep — searches bzip2-compressed file for a regular expression in a similar manner to grep

    • bzegrep — searches bzip2-compressed file for a regular expression in a similar manner to egrep

    • bzfgrep — searches bzip2-compressed file for a regular expression in a similar manner to fgrep

    • bzless — displays a bzip2-compressed file a page at a time

    • bzmore — displays a bzip2-compressed file a page at a time

  • New zipinfo Utility. The zipinfo utility has been added to the MKS Toolkit. This utility displays information about zip-compressed files and archives.

  • Updated unzip Utility. The unzip utility has been updated to be compatible with version 3.5 of the standard unzip utility available on various systems.

  • Encryption Now Supported by the zip and unzip Utilities. The zip and unzip utilities now feature the ability to encrypt and decrypt zip-compressed files and archives.

Documentation Enhancements

  • Online Cross-Platform Developer's Guide Renamed to UNIX to Windows Porting Guide. The online version of the Cross-Platform Developer's Guide, provided with all MKS Toolkit products, features minor updates and has been renamed to the UNIX to Windows Porting Guide to better reflect its contents. MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers include a printed version of the Cross-Platform Developer's Guide which has not been updated.

  • Updated Product Overview & Solutions Guide. The online Product Overview & Solutions Guide features minor changes and is more up-to-date than the printed versions provided with your MKS Toolkit product.

  • Updated Scheduling Solutions Guide. The Scheduling Solutions Guide has been updated to reflect minor changes in the MKS Toolkit Scheduler.

  • Updated Connectivity Solutions Guide. The Connectivity Solutions Guide has been updated to include a discussion of the rlogind service and smart card support.

  • Updated Backup and Tape Handling Solutions Guide. The Backup and Tape Handling Solutions Guide has been updated to include a discussion of bzip2 compression.

  • Updated Reference Pages. The MKS Toolkit reference pages have been updated to include new reference pages for utilities added in this release and to reflect new and changed features as well as minor corrections and clarifications.

Various Other Enhancements

In addition to the previously described features, MKS Toolkit 8.6 features the following additional enhancements:

  • Large File Support. As of version 8.6, all MKS Toolkit utilities and APIs support files in excess of 4 gigabytes.

  • Sparse File Support. The chmod, cp, mv, cpio, pax, tar, and Visual Pax utilities now feature support for sparse files on NTFS file systems.

  • Additional Unicode Support. The cat (concatenate and display files), head (display first part of a file), and tail (display the last lines of a file) utilities now features support for UTF-8 characters as well as 16-bit wide characters. In addition, these utilities also feature options for specifying the type of characters to be input and output.

  • Enhancements to the cp Utility. The cp utility now features new options for copying files complete with ACLs and for copying sparse files to non-sparse files.

  • Enhancements to the imapmail and pop3mail Utilities. The imapmail and pop3mail utilities now accept lists and ranges of message numbers. Also, the imapmail utility now accepts the recent and unseen keywords which display the number of new messages in a folder since it was last accessed and the number of unread messages in the folder, respectively. Finally, the pop3mail utility now accepts the size keyword which displays the size of the mailbox or folder.

  • Enhancements to the ps and kill Utilities. The ps and kill utilities now support the -S option to allow them to display and kill, respectively, processes on remote systems.

  • Enhancements to the MKS Toolkit Scheduler. The MKS Toolkit Scheduler now features Copy and Stop commands which let you copy and stop scheduled tasks, respectively.

  • Enhancements to the MKS Toolkit Control Panel Applet. Minor changes and enhancements, including support for the new rlogind service, have been made to the MKS Toolkit Control Panel Applet.

  • Other New Utilities. The following new utilities have been added in MKS Toolkit 8.6:

    • diffb — shows the differences between two binary files.

    • htstrip — strips tags from an HTML file.

    • resize — sets TERMCAP and terminal settings to current xterm window size.

New Features in Previous Releases

Hardware and Software Requirements

MKS Toolkit products do not have any particular hardware requirements. Any machine that is sufficient to run the underlying operating system is sufficient. All MKS Toolkit products run on Windows systems with Intel 32-bit or IA64 processors.

MKS Toolkit products have the following software requirements:

  • Platforms. You can install all MKS Toolkit products on:
    • Windows Me
    • Windows NT (Workstation, Server, or Terminal Server) with Service Pack 6+ (Service Pack 6a is recommended)
    • Windows 2000 (Professional, Server, or Advanced Server)
    • Windows XP (Home or Professional)
    • Windows Server 2003

  • FAT File Systems. It is not currently possible to adequately secure key files and other data, if you install the secure shell server (secshd) onto a FAT file system. Therefore, we do not support use of the server on such a file system; however, the secure clients are all still usable in this case.

  • Limitations for Windows Me. Many MKS Toolkit utilities are Windows NT/2000/XP/2003-specific. These are clearly documented in the reference pages in the MKS Toolkit Utilities Reference, available from the Start menu.

    In addition, because of the lack of certain operating features on Windows Me, some MKS Toolkit UNIX APIs run in degraded mode (or return without doing anything) on those platforms. These are discussed in the MKS Toolkit UNIX to Windows Porting Guide and in great detail in the reference page for each API in the online MKS Toolkit UNIX APIs Reference which you can access via the Start menu.

  • Compilers. The MKS Toolkit development products work with Microsoft Visual C/C++ versions 5.0 and 6.0 as well as Visual Studio.NET (version 7.0) and Visual Studio.NET 2003 (Version 7.1).

    MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and for Enterprise Developers support both versions of the Standard Template Library. In addition, they both support the Absoft Pro Fortran f90/f77 compiler, versions 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 ( The "Using Languages" chapter of the MKS Toolkit UNIX to Windows Porting Guide describes how to use these MKS Toolkit products with C, C++, and Fortran.

  • Windows Task Scheduler. The MKS Toolkit Scheduler, the command-line scheduling utilities (at, batch, crontab, and wts) require Internet Explorer 4 (or later) and the Windows Task Scheduler. On Windows Me, 2000, XP, and 2003 these are already installed. On Windows NT 4, you should follow these steps to install the Windows Task Scheduler:

    1. Select Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel. The list of currently installed programs appears.

    2. Select Microsoft Internet Explorer and click Add/Remove. A dialog appears prompting you for action.

    3. Select Add a component to Internet Explorer. A list of additional Internet Explorer components appears.

    4. If you are running Internet Explorer 5+, select Offline Browsing Pack. If you are running Internet Explorer 4, select Additional Explorer Enhancements.

    Alternatively, you can download Internet Explorer 5 or 6 and their add-ons from

Installing MKS Toolkit

If you have MKS Toolkit 7.5 or eariler, or if you have a previous version of MKS NuTCRACKER Professional, we recommend that you uninstall it, or install MKS Toolkit 8.6 on another machine.

When installing MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers or MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers, the following additional requirements apply:

  • Microsoft Visual C/C++ (version 5.0 or later) must already be installed on your system.

  • You must install from an account with local or domain administrator privileges. You do not need to be an Administrator, but your login ID must be a member of the local or domain Windows Administrators group before you can install.

All MKS Toolkit products share a common installer. If you are installing from a CD, insert the MKS Toolkit distribution CD; the installer should start automatically. If you are installing from an electronic distribution, run the self-extracting installer.

To install MKS Toolkit, click the Install Toolkit button and follow the instructions on the dialogs that appear.

For step-by-step installation instructions and an installation FAQ, see

Silent and Administrative Installations

For step-by-step installation instructions and information on administrative and silent installations for MKS Toolkit see

MKS Platform Components 7.x

You must reboot your system before reinstalling MKS Toolkit.

Known Issues

The following known issue exists in MKS Toolkit 8.6:

  • When the TK_NTSERCURITYINFO_OFF environment variable is set, it turns off all security related features. This includes the ability to look up user and group IDs. As a result, utilities such as id, chown, and chgrp that depend upon user and group IDs will not work properly when this variable is set.

Customer Support

When reporting a problem, you will need certain information about your product, which you can find on the Support Information of the MKS Toolkit Control Panel Applet.

Contact MKS customer support at:

Web Site:
Online Request Form:
Telephone: +1-703-803-7660
(9:00am to 7:00pm ET, Mon-Fri, except holidays)
Fax: +1-703-803-3344

Operating System Support

Microsoft has dropped support for Windows 95 as of November 2001 and plans to drop support for Windows 98 at the end of June 2003. For this reason, MKS Toolkit 8.6 will not be officially supported on these operating systems. MKS will continue to support Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. Note, however, that references to unsupported operating systems may still remain in some documentation. We will endeavor to remove such references in time.

As of MKS Toolkit 8.0, MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers and MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers no longer install the Application Packaging Wizard on Windows 95/98/Me systems. You can still use the Application Packaging Wizard on Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 to package your application for deployment on all supported platforms.

Additional MKS Toolkit Resources

There are several other sources for additional information about our MKS Toolkit products.

We have general product information, including technical specifications, detailed utility listings, and datasheets at:

We offer a resource kit including example scripts, additional utilities, more tutorials, and a wide variety of other useful information at:

We have several additional articles, tutorials, and white papers about using features of the MKS Toolkit at:

Through the years, we have accumulated a lot of technical details about the MKS Toolkit products and have put this information in a searchable database at:

Our customers commonly ask certain questions. These questions and their answers are in our Frequently Asked Questions pages at:

Known installation issues are listed at:

Fixed Problems

Several problems were fixed in MKS Toolkit 8.6. These are listed at:

Fixed Problems in Previous Releases

©2003 MKS Inc. All rights reserved.